Brexit: do you know enough?

I’m going to voice an unpopular opinion here: many of us probably shouldn’t be voting in this referendum.

Yes, yes, “people died for our right to vote”, “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain when you don’t like the result”, etc. But having a right to vote means we also have a responsibility to know what we are voting for.

europe-flagThe truth is, we are voting about a hugely complicated event, with no crystal ball. There are big issues on the table: economics, immigration, security, sovereignty… Understanding them requires intelligence, and dedication to sourcing the least biased information available.

Whilst I’d love to believe that most people are putting in the time and effort needed to understand, I don’t think that’s the world I’m living in.

We aren’t voting on “do you hate foreigners?”

The reality I’m living in is called “Lincolnshire”. Its a rural county, filled with small towns that have seen a sea change due to Eastern European immigration. When I talk to people in Skegness, they are not presenting me with calculated, well-informed debate… “Well yes, Norway haven’t been allowed to negotiate free trade without free movement, but we bring a lot more to the table, so may able to hash out a different deal…”.

One is a recent UKIP poster, the other part of a 1930s Nazi anti-semetic propaganda campgain…

Now, I’m aware that many of my friends have made a decision based on very careful research, thought and reasoning. In which case, please do not be offended by my next statement.

That said, it is true to say that the vast majority of the arguments I’ve been hearing on the train; that are being posted on Facebook; that I see on the front pages of the tabloids; are, frankly, racist.

An opinion I’ve had voiced to me literally ten times in the last year: “I’m all for leaving Europe. You can’t hear even hear English on the street in Boston any more, them foreigners are taking over”.

My response has been simple:

“Firstly, many of ‘them foreigners’ are my friends.”

“Secondly, this is not what the debate is about. We aren’t voting on ‘do you hate foreigners?’. Leaving the EU is very unlikely to reduce our immigration levels. When you vote “Leave” thinking that’s what it gives you, you risk damaging the country you wish to protect!”

I’m voting Remain

I am voting Remain, because I think it makes more sense. In almost every area, the majority of our experts seem to think we are better off in Europe.

RemainPolitics: I think it says a lot that the leaders of the Labour party, Tory party, Lib Dems, Green Party and the SNP actually agree on this one. Five of Northern Ireland’s political parties have joined together on the issue. Think about that – when do those guys ever get round the same table?

Economics: I also think that there are some pretty intelligent people in the Treasury, the Financial Times, the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. They, along with 279 leading economists paint a brighter picture for the UK in Europe than outside itSure, 8 prominent economists wrote their own letter supporting Leave. But I’m good enough at economics to know that 279 vs 8 = a landslide consensus against Brexit

Immigration: Norway isn’t in Europe. But to be allowed the trade advantages, they had to accept free movement. Ie. the same immigration situation that we are in. Norway’s President wrote to the UK and told us there is no gain from being in their situation. Leaving the EU is absolutely no guarantee that our immigration levels will reduce.

Sovereignty: the EU is a democratic body – what do you think MEPs are? Furthermore, the turnout for MEP elections is around the same as for local council elections (around 30%). Should be all be campaigning to leave our local council too?

I’m not writing this post to go into everything in detail: there’s plenty of links for that below.

Not sure? Educate yourself.

learningIt’s difficult, it’s complicated, and it’s important. If you think it’s worth voting then it’s worth voting right.

Here’s five options for you to learn more:

  1. FullFact.org are a politically neutral organisation, whose aim to check facts, with no agenda. Read their information on the EU referendum.
  2. Wanting something lighter? My friend Raj has written “A simple-ish summary of Vote Remain“.
  3. The Financial Times has written a brilliant article entitled “Brexit in seven charts: the economic impact“, which answers a lot of difficult questions in an easy to understand way.
  4. Visit Open Europe – an organisation that has declared itself officially neutral on the issue – for their analysis of what a post Brexit UK might look like. That said, its a fairly complex read.
  5. Another friend of mine, Gareth, has written a more detailed, but still very readable look at things – “Should we stay or should we go?“.

Still not sure? Don’t vote.

My wife’s grandfather has made the decision not to vote. He’s a firm believer in democracy, and feels that he hasn’t been able to fully enough understand the debate to be sure he’s doing the right thing.

I think his decision is honest, and honourable. If you aren’t sure why you checking that box, you risk hurting the UK. Be true to yourself, be true to our democracy, and don’t just blindly guess.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for being part of this great, free and democratic union!

Bad Medicine: Why the doctors are striking.

This is a cross post from my Huffington Post column. Feel free to read it there instead…

I am a big believer in Good Medicine.

Notice the capital “M”? We all know about “medicine”, which often takes the form of tablets that help you to get better. But Medicine is the art of getting people better. Learning Good Medicine is a process of skilled training that takes doctors decades of experience, practice, mistakes and reflection.

Good evidence = Good Medicine

GoodmedicineScience means “using evidence to prove a theory”. Applying science to Medicine means that all our actions need to be based on reliable, good quality evidence.

It is impossible to practice Good Medicine without evidence – a fact that is drummed into us at medical school. Science is the reason doctors don’t try to cure impotence with electrocution, cure migraines by drilling holes in people’s skulls, and never encourage people to drink their own urine.

Look at some of these examples, to see how important evidence is:

Why do we ask Mrs Jones to take tablets for blood pressure?
Because the evidence shows that it reduces her risks of strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, kidney failure, and lots of other nasty things.

Why do we use paracetamol when little Timmy is burning up with his sore throat?
Because the evidence shows us that it relieves distress in children with raised temperatures.

Why does Mr William’s GP always ask him about smoking?
Because evidence shows that simple advice from a GP nearly doubles the chance that Mr William will quit in the following year.

Being a good doctor means practising Good Medicine. If we are going to take risks with people’s lives, we need to be sure that what we are doing is helpful; I’m sure you agree.

The government doesn’t have good evidence

Unfortunately, there is a problem. The NHS isn’t run by nurses, and doctors, and pharmacists, and radiologists, and dieticians, and the many, many other professionals who understand that evidence is the most important underpinning of everything we do together.

David_Cameron_(28_January_2011)The NHS is run by politicians. Politicians like David Cameron, and Jeremy Hunt. Politicians who don’t seem to understand that Medicine without evidence is Bad Medicine. We, the doctors, are terribly concerned, that the politicians are in a hurry.

We want a 7 day NHS. Oh yes! We want a better health service, no doubt about it. But “7 day health service” is a buzzword. On its own, it doesn’t mean anything. Even if Jeremy Hunt sits on the toilet one morning, and has a brilliant idea, its very important that we test his idea.

Many of you will remember the incident in 2006 in London when a new drug, TGN1412, was given to 6 men, all of whom nearly died, with multiple organ failure. Ultimately, there was several problems with that trial, but a fact point is: aren’t you glad they didn’t try that drug on thousands of people at once?

The government isn’t proposed untested drugs, but it does want to roll out a junior doctor contract across the country, without testing it first. The junior doctors are concerned that it runs the risk of making problems much worse. Why is there such a hurry to take action without getting more evidence first?

What evidence we do have doesn’t support the government’s claims

Mr Hunt claims he has evidence that 11,000 people die each year due to weekend staffing. But let me read you a line from the conclusion of the very report he is quoting:“It is not possible to ascertain the extent to which these excess deaths may be preventable; to assume that they are avoidable would be rash and misleading.” In other words, he is claiming the study as strong evidence to support his actions: but the report makes it very clear that it is absolutely not.

Mr Cameron wants us to “become the first country in the world to deliver a truly 7-day NHS“. But he talks about 24/7 GP practices, despite the initial evidence we have not supporting this in practice. The Public Accounts committee grilled policy advisers on what their cost-benefit analysis evidence was, to discover that they haven’t done any. They asked a key question: “If you don’t know in broad terms what the answer is, how can you be doing the policy?”.

We would agree, strongly. If the government doesn’t know its changes will save lives, how can they be implementing them?

Why the junior doctors are striking

The government has said they are going to force a new contract onto doctors. But they don’t have any evidence that the new contract will save lives. We, the doctors, are very concerned that it will cost lives, and we keep saying it, but the government isn’t listening to us.

Knee jerk decisions?
That’s Bad Medicine.

Actions without evidence?
That’s Bad Medicine.

Changing the NHS that 53 million people rely on without trialling to see if the changes are harmful?
That’s Bad Medicine.

Bad Medicine kills people. Support your junior doctors, and tell the Government we want a safe, evidence based NHS, and we are willing to take the time to do it properly. #notsafenotfair

I’ve cross posted this on my personal site, AllAboutChris.org. If you feel strongly, please post it on your site too. Feel free to contact me me on twitter as @bigonroad. Thanks for reading!

Drunks and Dragons: A prediction

DrunksNDragonsSince Autumn, I have listened to 67 episodes of the Drunks and Dragons podcast. I’ve never really had any experience with Dungeons and Dragons, and found myself listening to this rather silly and pretty enjoyable podcast on the topic.

Given that I’ve now racked up around 94 hours of listening – nearly 4 full days of my life – I’ve become pretty attached to the characters, and their stories. There are currently about 150 episodes recorded, so I’m nearly halfway through. I thought it would be fun to make a few guesses about what happens in the next 70 chapters…

The Story

Firstly, Fennekin is going to be a bad guy. Think about it: House Vidalis fell due to one person playing with the Braisier of Worlds, and they are about to hand over that, AND TWO MORE super powered magical objects, to Fennekin. The players haven’t really thought about that, and I predict its not going to go well for them.

Secondly, their boat… I’m not sure if they need to make any more long boat journeys, I wonder if they will lose the boat, sink it, or generally have it disappear from the story in a slightly unimpressive way.

Thirdly, money. Jennifer is apparently keeping track of all the money, first mentioned around episode 40ish I think. Despite this, I don’t think she has mentioned money even once on the podcast since then, and I suspect that there will be at least one occasion where money is discussed, no one will have any idea and the Math Song will need to be played for a short period.

AludraAludra

Aludra will die. Not full on die and leave the show, but I don’t think she’s been unconscious, or reached quasi death in a battle yet; so I predict she has it coming.

I also think that she will have a romantic liaison. Thom has had, well, loads of those, both consensual and borderline so – as well as likely with inanimate objects – but self titled “busty wench lady” Aludra hasn’t moved into the battlefield of love. I’m not sure about it, but I’d like to believe that her character will be fleshed out a little bit more in that way.

I also think that Jennifer Cheek will continue to roll worse and worse, until they have to stop letting her take place in any kind of battle scene at all. Put it this way: the odds of rolling two critical fails in a row are 400:1, but for her, I’d give it about 5:1.

ThomThom

I think Thom will get a ranged weapon. The group don’t have any traditional ranged weapons. Yeah, they have spells and things, but I’d love a bow and arrow. I think it would be a nice feature to add in, and I recall Mike actually mentioned the possibility around episode 50, so yeh, let’s see if that develops.

He will build his weird creation at some point, out of all the rotten body parts. I think it’ll be a really disappointing NPC, almost embarrassingly ignorable. I don’t think it will be the subject of Aludra’s romantic liaison, but I cannot be sure that Thom won’t try his luck with it.

I also predict that Thom will have an argument with Blood Drinker at some point – not a big one, but one that is RPd out, and will likely end up with Thom killing something he didn’t really want to kill. Not that Thom will spend long grieving about that…

HarperHarper

We will discover the truth behind Harper’s dark past – but it will turn out not to be as dark as it should be.

Consider Harper’s predecessor Tum, who died in episode 30. He has his entire village and family killed in front of him by winged beasts, leading to an orphaned childhood, destitute in the city, and eventually forced by circumstance to join the crazy Thumble clan and spend every week in an arena murdering his brothers and sisters. Harper’s back story would have to be pretty awful to match up to that, and I don’t think it will.

However, once his dark past is revealed, I predict Harper will chill out a bit. To be honest, I miss Tum, because he was a bit more chilled and easygoing – like Tim Lanning – and I feel at the moment the PCs can’t really just relax and have fun in a pub. I look forwards to a more fun Harper.

DNDfamilyBucky

Bucky is the ridiculous adopted Githyanki son of Thom and Aludra, and is an NPC.

Despite Thriftynerd pronouncing Bucky to be a “level 0”, I think Bucky will be involved in an attack in future. It’s clear, from the intense amount of training he is receiving from his father, Thom, that he will gain some skills. My prediction is that he will kill something – if only a minion – with his battle crazed great sword.

Daisy

Obviously Daisy is magic. I suspect she is probably the chief bad guy for the entire overarching storyline. She’ll destroy them all.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to make a comment about how wrong you think or know I am. I’m not going to read the comments until I get to episode 150, so feel free to drop spoilers!

‘Will I Be Able to See You Next Time?’

This is a cross post from my Huffington Post column. Feel free to read it there instead…

Or… “Why patients miss having a regular doctor, and how the new junior doctor contract risks making the situation worse.”

Despite being nearly thirty, married for nearly a decade, with two children, I am a “junior” doctor. Technically, I am a GP Registrar. It’s written on my door, and none of my patients understand what it means. I often get the joke “Does that mean you can marry us after you’ve listened to my chest?”.

2016-01-11-1452522367-1128787-gpregistrar.jpg

I explain that “registrar” means that I am a trainee GP, with one year left before I’m a fully qualified GP.

They always follow this up with the same question: “Does that mean that you are staying here long term…” There’s always a look of hope in their eyes; that I can be a familiar face who knows them; a traditional family GP; a doctor, and a friend.

General practice has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. Practices were commonly run by one or two partners. My training practice has more than 10 partners. Getting an appointment is a scramble of ringing continuously at 8am – hoping to get lucky today – and there’s no guarantee you will see the same doctor each time.

I know that patients are suffering from this lack of continuity: because they complain to me about it. It is no exaggeration to say that 5 patients each day mention how hard it is to get an appointment. Sometimes, on a day when I’m frankly fed up with nodding defeatedly and apologising, I explain why things are changing…

“Why is it so hard for me to get an appointment, doctor?”
You see, Mrs Jones, these days people visit their doctor more often than they used to.

In 1995, on average, a patient would see their GP 3.9 times per year. In 2008, this had risen to 5.5 times. If that trend has continued, in an average practice of 9,000 patients, that would mean a practice will need 22,153 more appointments in 2016 than they did in 1995.

A GP will see around 40 patients a day – although some will see many, many more than this. To meet people’s desire for seeing a GP, every practice would need 3 new GPs. This is the reason nurses have become so vital in GP practices; they help to share the burden of extra appointments.

“Why don’t we just hire more GPs, doctor?”
Unfortunately, Mrs Jones, there aren’t as many GPs as there used to be.

When I applied, 4 years ago, GP training was relatively popular, and there were 30 trainees in my year, locally. This year? We have 7. In London, the problem is less extreme, but it has been devastating across the rest of the country. My colleagues in Chesterfield have just 12 trainees; Lincoln, just 4. And Bassetlaw? Bassetlaw have no new GPs being trained this year. Overall, 30% of General Practice training posts remain unfilled in the UK.

To make the problem worse, GPs are retiring much faster than replacements are being trained. In a recent survey, more than a third of all the GPs in the country plan to retire in the next 5 years – and many others plan to go part time!

Just to keep numbers stable, we would need to graduate 4,000 new GPs a year. This year? Only 2,732 new trainees started GP VTS training, a figure that’s reducing annually. We are heading for an absolute crisis, a shortfall of tens of thousands of GPs across the country.

“Oh dear doctor. What can be done?”
Its a difficult problem Mrs Jones, and no one really has an answer. But there are some simple things that need to be addressed:

We need more medical students. At the moment, there are only 6,800 places in medical schools each year in the UK. In 2007… there were 7,300! Why, oh why, is that number going down? We would need 58% of those students to graduate and become GPs in order to address the crisis that is happening. That would leave the rest of the health service with just 2,800 a year – or just 2.5 new doctors annually for each of our 1069 hospital sites.

We need more encouragement to junior doctors. Jeremy Hunt has tried to unilaterally impose a wildly unpopular new junior doctor contract. There are fears of increased normal work hours, uncertainty about pay cuts and, most worryingly, a very forceful attitude that is leading to a strike tomorrow by junior doctors. Right now, junior doctors need to decide whether to apply for specialty training: primary care is going to see even worse recruitment unless the uncertainty is resolved quickly and positively.

“Is there anything else we can do, doctor?”
Well, Mrs Jones, I’m glad you asked that…

We need to use our brains. The patient before you attended because he had a spot on his nose. Since yesterday. Did he really need to see me? When I work in A&E, I regularly see people who have mild sunburn. I see patients who’ve had a sore throat for 3 days and saw their GP earlier today, but want a second opinion. I’ve seen parents at 9pm because their 2 year old hasn’t gone to sleep yet.

We seem to be afraid to say it, but the NHS needs patients to take some responsibility for minor ailments. Every doctor you will see has a hundred stories about patients attending needlessly. We need a prescription of that very British quality: good old common sense.

If we are going to save the NHS, we need to work together, doctors and nurses, patients and politicians. Its our health service, and its up to us to keep it healthy!

Now, Mrs Jones, let’s get back to you. How can I help you today?
“Well you see doctor, my nose has been running since Monday. I went to the Urgent Care Centre last night, but its not better yet. I thought maybe you could give me some antibiotics…”

New phone? Try my favourite Android apps…

Found a new Android smartphone under the tree this year? Why not try a few of my favourites…

I apologise: I don’t usually write stuff that’s so click-baity. However, I was struck by how useful one of my apps was yesterday, so I thought I’d recommend 6 of my faves for anyone unwrapping a new Android phone this year.

By the way, I don’t get any money for sharing this stuff, so you don’t need to worry about me being biased: I just love efficient things!

mightytextMightyText

Site: https://mightytext.net
Price: Free, premium options (which I don’t use)

Manage your texts from any browser on any computer.

This fantastic app is something I genuinely don’t understand how people cope without. So much easier than tapping out texts on a little touch screen, you can access all your text messages, respond to replies and generally manage that whole world of communication way more efficiently.

It even notifies you on your desktop PC when you get new texts. My phone spends all day in my coat pocket, whilst I’m in continuous contact on my computer throughout the work day.

smsbackupSMS Backup+

Site: SMS Backup + on Google Play
Price: Free, donate option for 93p, which you should do!

Keeps a permanent backup of call logs and texts in Gmail.

This bad boy has saved me hours of hunting down tit tats of information. Every single text I’ve recieved since 2013 is store in a folder in my gmail account, linked to the name of the Google contact in my address book.

You install it, you forget about it, and then when you are visiting that friend you saw two years ago and need his postcode again… you already have it! Well worth making a donation for.

4.-MyFitnessPal-Android-iOS-Windows-Phone-FreeMyFitnessPal

Site: MyFitnessPal.com
Price: Free.

The most efficient way to track calories and lose weight.

I suspect I would still be fat if MFP did not exist. As any of my blog readers will know, I’ve managed to get on top of health and fitness pretty heavily over the last year. A cornerstone of that has been the simple truth: you need to eat less calories than you use in order to lose weight.

Calorie tracking is a bit tedious, but MFP manages to minimise that. Using it, I estimate that I can keep track of 98% of my daily calorific intake with around 4 minutes work a day. This seems to have a reasonable benefit-to-effort ratio.

I recommend it purely because its got the largest database of any of the calorie tracker apps. The larger the database, the more likely you don’t have to try any work out calorific value from raw ingredients, which is possible but time costly.

Week 5 weight graphLibra

Site: Libra on Google Play
Price: Free, donate option for £2.50 which I recommend!

A nice graph with some simple stats for your daily weights

I weigh myself every day, and recommend it for my patients trying to lose weight. It keeps you motivated (and guilty), and gives you a more accurate picture of your weight over a week than a single measurement. If you’ve ever read The Hacker’s Diet, this app is for you…

Libra is dead easy to use, gives you nice graphs, with a great weighted average so you get a useful measure of your overall direction of travel. It also works about a few neat stats, such as estimated calorie deficit based on your weight loss: I’ve previously found this to exactly correlate with my diet and weights.

Google KeepGoogle Keep

Site: Keep.Google.com
Price: Free

Simple post-it note app with effortless sync to all your devices.

You know when you need to remember to buy milk? Or you have a list of dates someone told you to keep free? Or a not very important password that you occasionally need? Google Keep is there for that data.

Its instant to use, works great on Android and on the web, and gets the job done. Does it do everything you could ever possibly need? No. Does it do a reliable, well designed job for you with no questions asked? Yup.

Pocket Casts

pocketcastsSite: Shiftyjelly.com/pocketcasts
Price: £2.49

The best podcast app out there, makes listening and hunting for new ones a breeze.

My phone died the other day, so I picked up my wife’s phone, logged into Pocket Casts, and was listening at the point I’d been interupted about 3 minutes later. That alone explains how great this app is.

For discovering new podcasts, listening to old favourites, and for doing all the hard work for you, with automatic downloads, and auto-deletion, I’ve not tried anything else that comes close.

Try it out, and find those boring runs, drives and cycle rides way more interesting. Eventually realise you’ve listened to 30 hours of Dungeons and Dragons role play in the course of a month, and wonder if there’s something wrong with your life…

That’s all for now… Got any apps you’d recommend? I’m all ears… leave a comment below!

Board Gaming in November!

A month or so ago, I finally got involved in something I’ve dreamt of for years: a local board gaming group! Introducing:

boardgamesgroupfacebookBoston Board Games group

Meeting on sporadic Monday nights, we get to try out various exciting new games. All games are fully explained by nerds experienced board gamers, and beginners are welcome.

Go on… join the group on Facebook!

In the last month we’ve played Lords of War, 6nimmt!, Vineta, 7 Wonders, Dead of Winter, Android: Netrunner, Between Two Cities, and Discworld: Ankh Morpork. In other words: no Monopoly, just fun new table based explosions of co-operation and competition.

Last night…

I enjoy waffling, so I may occasionally do little write ups. Last night, as I mentioned above, we played three games…

Android: Netrunner

androidnetrunnerAndroid: Netrunner is a collectible card game, with an assymetric design. Most games in the world are those that you play against people as equals: everyone has the same number of pieces, amount of starting money, etc.

In Netrunner that equality is gone: one of you plays as a massive corporation, the other as a hacker. As a result, the corp player has tons of resources and money, and is building an empire, whilst the hacker runs a much leaner setup, with just a few cards for his computer hardware and software.

The game revolves around “agenda” points. The corporation is trying to complete projects which score them, whilst the hacker is making runs against those servers to steal the agenda cards, and thus the points.

Most games in the world are those that you play against people as equals: in Netrunner, that equality is gone.

Its a game I bought a year ago, but struggled to find anyone to play it with. Reading the rules made it seem a little complex, but it actually fit together rather nicely. Two of us played, and the core challenge of being a hacker became clear pretty fast.

Jon bluffed me into a trap by installing a server, and putting some weak protection on it. I assumed it hid an agenda card, ran against the server, and accessed it… to discover he’d put a malicious program in there that trashed my best Icebreaker. Painful.

Despite the initial setback, I won the game, and I’m raring for more. May even enter one of the London day competitions for a laugh…

betweentwocitiesBetween Two Cities

Craig turned up halfway through the Netrunner game, and gleefully unveiled his shiny new kickstarter: Between Two Cities.

On the theme of balance as a mechanic, BTC manages to be unique by going in totally the opposite direction – everything you do is shared. You build a city with each of your neighbours, aiming to score the most points with them that you can. The catch? Your final score is defined by the points of your least good city.

BetweenTwoCitiesWinnerIts a confusing concept, best explained with a little diagram…

You want the two most valuable cities in the game next to you. And they should be as close to each other as possible in points. The bottom player has helped build an awesome 50 point city, but that doesn’t matter, because his other city isn’t good enough.

We played two games. It was ridiculously close each time, with the six cities all scoring between 50-55, but its worth noting that I won both games. Only by one point, but that’s a victory nonetheless.

I really enjoyed BTC: there’s something very satisfying about building a perfect little city, playingBTCoptimising for maximum points, but also keeping one eye cautiously out to try to make sure you aren’t helping to make one city too good at the expense of your other. The whole time you know everyone else is being just as co-operative, whilst also just being a tiny bit nasty at the back of their mind…

Discworld: Ankh Morpork

If you are reading this, you will have realised two things:

  • I’m writing on my personal, hand coded blog.
  • I’m nearly 30, yet talking about board games.

Obviously, I’m a terrific nerd, and as a result, a huge fan of Terry Pratchett books. As such, any game based on the world they’re set in is halfway to capturing my heart.

Discworld Ankh MorporkDiscworld: Ankh Morpork is an area control game where you all have hidden objectives. The hidden objectives mean that you don’t know if somebody needs to collect all the money to win, control a certain number of territories, have pieces in multiple territories, or simply wait out the end of the game to win.

We all persuaded ourselves that Craig was playing as Chrysoprase the troll, and thus needed loads of cash. He wasn’t.

This rolls out as a game where you are constantly on the lookout for anybody doing anything that might win. Appropriately, the role of Commander Vimes (head of the police in the Discworld books) is the one that wins if no body else manages to achieve their objective. It reminded me of monitoring field ownership in Carcassonne, coupled with the role uncertainty in Dead of Winter.

Our game of DW:AM (terrible acronym, sorry) didn’t last very long. We all persuaded ourselves that Craig was playing as Chrysoprase the troll, and thus needed loads of cash. He wasn’t, and so we totally missed him controlling 5 territories for a whole turn and winning.

I’m definitely keen to play it again, although I’m not completely sure how much fun it would be. I worry that there would be a lot of intently watching people’s turns, whilst your own moments of action are not hugely interesting. That said, all the cards are dripping with theme, covered in official artwork, and crammed with Discworld trivia, so I’d be pretty happy anyway…